Arab League rails against UN aid work in Darfur

Arab League rails against UN aid work in Darfur
A ministerial council said security and living conditions in Sudan's Darfur region were improving, but human rights groups voiced outrage at continued militant attacks against women and civilians today.
2 min read
08 March, 2017
UN peacekeepers operating near El-Fasher, the capital of the North Darfur state [AFP]

The Arab League called for the United Nations to end its humanitarian work in Darfur on Wednesday, claiming that security and living conditions had improved.

The ministerial council's decision coincided, however, with a report for International Women's Day which found that human rights abuses - especially against women - were rife in Sudan's troubled region.

"Displaced women are routinely subject to rape and physical assaults by armed militiamen when they leave the camps for work or to collect firewood or straw," Dabanga Sudan reported.

"The displaced women also suffer because of a reduction in food rations and rising prices of food and consumer goods.

"Healthcare is severely lacking after the government expelled the humanitarian organisations working in the health sector."

The Arab League's motion also praises development and construction efforts in Darfur and encourages more investment in Sudan.

One of the largest investment projects in the Darfur region is related to gold mining - which is directly contributing to deteriorating living conditions.

A recent report by the Enough Project found that gold mining and mineral extraction in the country was directly responsible for war crimes in the Sudan's south.

Areas such as Jebel Marra, which has a high concentration of gold mines, have been subjected to continuous human rights atrocities, including alleged chemical weapons attacks.

Amnesty International renewed its call for an investigation into "credible evidence" of chemical weapons usage on Tuesday, as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) meets in The Hague.

The opposition

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir issued a pardon on Wednesday for 259 members of the opposition party in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"The decision to pardon 259 rebels aims at preparing the environment for achieving lasting peace in the country," Bashir's office said in a statement.

The opposition members were arrested in 2008 for their involvement in an attack on the Sudanese cities of Omdurman and Khartoum, killing more than 220 people including a Russian pilot.